Millboro Elementary School gets new principal
Millboro, Va. – Millboro Elementary School has a new full time principal. Allison Hicklin of Millboro started work July first. She became a teacher after working as an engineer for five years. She switched careers and then taught math and coached swimming at Alleghany High School.
“When I was in high school, I wanted to be a teacher and my mom talked me out of it,” says Hicklin. “She said You know, you have such a strong math background, go into engineering.’ And so I did and I did it. And it was interesting, but it wasn’t my passion. I was a structural engineer in Roanoke and for stress relief I coached swimming. I would work a fifty, sixty hour week and then I would go home and work with children for hours at the swimming pool just to enjoy something. The engineering wasn’t rewarding, it wasn’t what I was passionate about.”
Although she’s been a teacher for ten years and served on the Bath School Board for five months, Hicklin sees a challenge for herself at Millboro.
“My lack of elementary background,” says Hicklin. “As a high school math teacher and even as a high school leader, I felt very comfortable with the students, with the faculty, with the staff, with the subject knowledge. You know, I could teach dual enrollment calculus and dual enrollment differential equations, but I don’t know how to teach a kid to read. I would like to spend a lot of time in the classrooms with the teachers watching what they do, so I can have that knowledge too. I like being a leader, but I’d like also knowing how to do it. I don’t want to be a leader and not know what’s going on underneath me. And people have said, Trust your teachers and trust that they’re doing it right.’ And I do, I completely trust them, but I also want to be able to be there for them as an instructional leader as well.”
Hicklin didn’t consider applying for the job until plans for her daughter’s kindergarten enrollment came into question. Her daughter will be starting school this fall and Hicklin had planned to enroll her in Alleghany County, since she worked there. But when Hicklin learned that was not guaranteed, her husband Eddy encouraged her to apply for the principal job at Millboro. Her husband attended Millboro Elementary and graduated from Bath County High School. Hicklin was qualified for the position and she resigned from her seat on the Bath School Board on June 5th and applied for the position the following week. After learning she got the job, she resigned from Alleghany County Schools on June 26th.
“Honestly, it didn’t cross my mind until I received a letter from Sharon Elementary School that Delaney would be an out of county resident and was not guaranteed admission,” says Hicklin. “Never once crossed my mind. You know, I was a math teacher at Alleghany High School. I had a vision. This is where I’m headed. Administration might be in my future, but you know it wasn’t immediately in my future.”
In recent years both elementary schools in Bath County were served by one principal. Les Balgavy was the full time Valley Elementary School principal, but due to budget cuts, he began dividing his time between Millboro and Valley. With Hicklin onboard at Millboro, Balgavy will now go back to serving Valley Elementary full time.